Offaly factory worker gets 'significant' payout after losing job after having baby

Offaly Express Reporter


Offaly Express Reporter


Offaly factory worker gets 'significant' payout after losing job after having baby

Offaly factory worker gets 'significant' payout after losing job after having baby

An Offaly factory worker has received a 'significant' payout after losing her job after having a baby.

A victim of “discrimination”, Inga Dainauskiene, who had worked at sausage maker, Rudd's in Birr for 13 years, was told she could either come back from maternity leave for a lower paid role or be made redundant. Now, she has been paid more than €61,000 after she lost her job.

Last week, the 38 year old was awarded €45,000 after the Workplace Relations Commission ruled Dainauskiene was a victim of “ pregnancy related discrimination regarding the termination of her employment”. This compensation was paid on top of the €16,673 she received in a redundancy payment from the company.

Speaking on RTE's Drivetime earlier this week, the mother of two said: “I couldn't believe it. I thought that I did a good job. I did feel like I was being discriminated against because I had a baby and came back off maternity leave but there was no job there.”

Inga started working at the Birr factory on September 1, 2005 after moving to Birr from Latvia. She said at the time of her dismissal she had been the longest serving employee at Rudd's. In 2017, Sean Loughnane Galway Ltd bought Rudd's Sausages from the O'Brien Fine Foods group and Inga continued to work there.

She was promoted to supervisor and on November 20, 2018, she went on maternity leave ahead of the birth of her little girl, who is now 16 months old. She was due back to work on July 1, 2019 but a month before her return, her employer contacted her.

Ms Dainauskiene was informed her job was gone and she was instead offered a more junior role, which paid €9.80 per hour and would include six months probation. Previously, she had been paid €14 per hour in the supervisor's role. When she complained, she was told she could either take a more junior job or accept redundancy.

In October 2019, she got a new job with Brady Family Ham, which is owned by the O'Brien Food Group that used to own Rudd's. Rudd's said the company had been restructured while Ms Dainuskiene was on maternity leave but confirmed she was the only person who had been made redundant during this restructure.

In summary, the respondent's case was that it was a “genuine redundancy and not pregnancy related”. “It came about because of the restructuring process and the Respondent refutes any allegation of discrimination. It submitted that there was no evidence put forward of discrimination and relied on the requirements set out in Section 85 (a) (1) of the Employment Equality Act 2004. It submitted that the Complainant had not adequately set out her claim and failed to set out a prima facia case of discrimination. “

Meanwhile, the 38 year old also has a ten year old son and had come back from maternity leave with “no problem” after he was born. She said it had been “scary” to take the case but she was glad she did and hoped it encouraged other women in a similar position.

Her case was that she was dismissed on the grounds of gender and family status, which amounted to a discriminatory dismissal and her solicitor, Mairead Carey, of Carey Solicitors in Clondalkin, spoke to the 'Tribune' this week, pointing out that “this is far more common than people expect”. “We are a new firm and this is the second case in a year that we have had,” she explained.

According to Ms Carey, Inga was delighted with the outcome. “This is a significant award,” she pointed out. “I think a lot of people don't take cases like this because they are concerned of the impact that it will have on their employment prospects in the future,” she continued adding that the “law states that women are entitled to come back from maternity leave to their job and be treated as if they haven't been out”.